Market impact from Paris attacks limited

November 16, 2015 11:05 AM

European shares reversed early losses on Monday and the safe-haven yen fell against the dollar with analysts seeing no long-term economic impact from Friday's attacks in Paris.

Asian shares hit six-week lows as investors bought traditionally safe investments, including gold, the yen and low-risk government debt.

However, gold came off the day's highs, falls in bond yields moderated and the yen lost ground against the dollar.

"I don't want to say that we have got used to these things, but the markets have learnt to realize that the attacks tend to have very limited impact upon the economy and markets," Commerzbank economist Peter Dixon said.

Oil prices rose as France launched large-scale air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria following the attacks that killed more than 130 people in the French capital.

U.S. stock index futures turned positive, indicating Wall Street was likely to open higher.

The pan-European FTS Eurofirst 300 index opened lower, dragged down by travel and leisure stocks, before turning positive as miners and energy stocks rose. The index was last up 0.11 %. Paris's CAC 40 index, however, fell 0.2 %.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell nearly 1.5 %, its biggest daily fall since Sept. 29, and was last down 1.2 %.

Leading the losers was Japan's Nikkei stock index, which tumbled nearly 1.1 %, nearly wiping out last week's gains as data showed the economy slipped back into recession in the July to September quarter.

It contracted at a 0.8 % annualized rate. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2 % contraction.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.9 %.

The widely tracked CBOE volatility index or "fear gauge" hit its highest level since Oct. 2.

Chinese stocks bucked the trend in Asia, however, reversing early losses to end higher. The CSI300 index of the largest-listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.5 % while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.7 %.

Yields on safe-haven two-year German bonds hit a record low of -0.382 % and was last at -0.36 %, slightly higher on the day.

Ten-year German yields, the benchmark for euro zone borrowing costs, edged up to 0.57 %, reversing falls after the EU statistics agency revised October inflation to 0.1 % year-on-year from an estimated zero.

U.S. Treasury yields fell. Ten-year yields were last down 2.1 bps at 2.26 %, having hit 2.241 % in Asian trade.

In currency markets, the euro initially hit a 6-1/2-month low against the safe-haven yen before recovering to trade up 0.1 % at flat at 132.03 yen.

The single currency was last down 0.5 % at $1.0725, having hit $1.0674 last week on expectations the European Central Bank will step up quantitative easing (QE).

"Ultimately, the Fed/ECB divergence will be the focus, with markets already pricing in a 10-basis-point deposit rate cut by the ECB and extension of the QE program," Credit Agricole FX strategist, Manuel Oliveri, said.

The dollar rose 0.1 % against a basket of major currencies and 0.4 % against the yen.

MIDDLE EAST

Markets in the Middle East, which trade on Sunday, were hit hard, though part of that decline was due to last week's drop in oil prices. Saudi Arabia's stock index hit a 35-month low on Sunday while stocks in Dubai and Egypt hit their lowest this year.

Crude oil rose more than 1 %. Benchmark Brent added 54 cents to $45.01 a barrel, having dropped 1 % on Friday. Traders said the rise was largely a matter of sentiment, with a premium being factored in after French strikes in Syria in response.

Spot gold rose more than 1 % to as high as $1,097.90 an ounce. It last traded at $1,091.50, having hit its lowest since February 2010 on Thursday.

About the Author

Nigel Stephenson, Reuters